Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/2019 Community Conversations/Roles & Responsibilities

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Scoping format[edit]

What is your area of inquiry?[edit]

What governance and organizational structures do we need to support the delivery of the strategic direction?

Some of the areas we will assess to address this include:

  • the overall organisational structure of the Wikimedia movement;
  • the current and future distribution of roles and responsibilities between Wikimedia Foundation, its affiliates and committees;
  • movement-wide governance and decision-making processes, including relationships between entities, and the accountability of those who exercise power;
  • distribution of responsibilities: from global to local or thematic as well as from full-time staff to the volunteer community;
  • equity within our structures and distribution of responsibilities for crucial functions needed by the movement (software development, fundraising, communications, legal);
  • The movement’s ability to respond effectively to social, political and technological change in future.
Talk

What is the current situation?[edit]

There are presently a large number of online projects, organisations, committees, and informal entities within the Wikimedia movement. These have mainly developed organically, and there has never been an overall plan.

Often, the relationships between different parts of the movement are unclear. There is no clear venue for holding a discussion between different elements of the movement, and no established method of deciding the outcome of such a conversation. The Wikimedia Foundation has sometimes played the role of driving discussion and decisions on these kinds of issues, but cannot or will not do so consistently.

While there are many positive examples of mutual support and collaborative problem-solving, this lack of clarity poses challenges. Expectations are often unclear and communication is felt to be lacking. Tasks and projects, including some of strategic significance, do not happen because it is presently no-one's job to do them.

Talk

Why this scope?[edit]

  • Our aim is to document and evaluate the existing governance and organisational structures of the Wikimedia Movement through consultation with a wide range of past and current stakeholders, to identify where roles and structures are working well (responsibilities/authority for decision making and communication are clear, and responsibilities are being executed) and where they are not. This “mapping” will also include other known gaps or obstacles that must be addressed in order to reach our 2030 goals. With this baseline in place, the group will then examine other governance models in terms of their suitability for reaching our direction for 2030, bearing in mind both current ‘pain points’ and the likely future environment and challenges the Wikimedia movement will face. 
  • The process the group is following is adapted from the book “Farsighted”, which focuses on best practices for decision-making in situations where long-term consequences and high-stakes results are a key factor.
  • The goal is to identify a future structure for the Wikimedia Movement that will create less friction and more synergies by better allocating the roles and responsibilities we need to strengthen Wikimedia's role as a pioneer in knowledge sharing, and to support the Strategic Direction.
Talk

Scoping questions[edit]

What are the key questions within the scope of the Working Group?[edit]

  1. What governance and organizational structures do we need to support the delivery of the strategic direction, particularly knowledge equity?
  2. How do we ensure that our governance and operational structures can adapt to social, technological and political change?
  3. How and to whom should movement roles and structures be accountable?
  4. What structures, processes, and behaviours will enable us to include all voices (including e.g. current contributors and emerging audiences) in our decision-making?
  5. What is the best way to understand the contributions and capabilities of the nodes in our future network?
  6. Which responsibilities are better placed at a global, regional, local or thematic level; which should be centralized and which decentralized?
  7. How might we integrate the Wikimedia Movement with the greater free knowledge ecosystem?
  8. How should conflict management and resolution be structured across the movement?
  9. How can we be strategic about ensuring relevance as we scale while still supporting the existing editing community? (Note: This point is about the relevance, quality and richness of content)
Talk